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Convert to iTunes Plus. Is the quality noticeable?

3851 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  guye
Hi everyone! After conducting some research about Apples iTunes plus service I have been pondering about the idea of converting my iTunes library over to this new format. Would the sound quality really be that noticeable if I upgrade?
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It depends largely on the quality of your own ears and what you normally listen to your music with.

The first question is whether you can even notice any perceptible quality between a 128kbps AAC file and the original CD. If you can't even notice that at any significant level, then 256kbps is not going to make much of a difference.

Further, if you're normally only listening to the iPod in your car, or using the stock Apple earbuds, or a similar basic pair of earbuds, or a noisy environment, or an average home speaker system, chances the quality differences are going to be imperceptible. You'd need earphones along the lines of the Shure e2c's or better to even begin to hear a difference in most cases.

The best way to tell is to grab a copy of your own CD and try importing it at 256kbps and 128kbps and then do a "blind" test and see if you can tell the difference. iTunes 7.3 now offers a pre-set for the 256kbps AAC iTunes Plus equivalent encoding, although you've always been able to do this manually as well.

Of course, all of that having been said, the lack of DRM on the iTunes Plus tracks is probably a huge benefit in and of itself. It means that you can convert these to MP3 freely (without having to burn them to CD first), and you can play them natively on any device that supports AAC (which many cell phones and other modern DAPs do).
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It depends largely on the quality of your own ears and what you normally listen to your music with.......
Hi! Thanks for your very informative reply! I usually use my Mac for listening to my music. Just recently I have made an upgrade from the built in iMac speakers to the Bose Companion 3 Series II speakers. And for my iPod I use the Bose in ear headphones. The audio experience that both the speakers and headphones provide is impeccable! I can hear sounds in my music that I have never heard before! With that said I began to ponder the "What if I..." But I figured before I do anything it would be a good idea to ask if anyone has noticed a difference or not.

Using your suggestion with regards to importing my CD's using different bit rates I have come to the conclusion that iTunes plus would definitely be the way to go!

Once again I would like to thank you for your reply, it is very much appreciated!
Very noticable sound quality difference. Vocals sound more intimate, strings and other delicate instruments have substantially less artifacts if not completely eliminated. Not so much on my stock iPod earbuds but on my Logitech Z-10 speakers and my car stereo, yes it's very noticable.
I mostly listen to music through the stock iPod earbuds and I haven't heard a noticeable difference between the 2

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